Cornflakes were invented by accident in 1894 by John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) and his brother Will Keith Kellogg (1860-1951). A group of Seventh Day Adventists, including the Kellogg brothers, were trying to develop new foods to conform to a strict vegan diet, in the belief that this was beneficial to health. As the superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanatorium, a hospital and health spa for wealthy customers, John Kellogg tested out the foods on his guests.
Grains of all kinds were known to be nutritious. On one occasion, the Kellogg brothers left some cooked wheat to attend to something else, and when they returned the wheat had dried out. Not wanting to waste it, they pressed the wheat with rollers to try and make flat dough. But the grains turned into flakes, which the brothers then toasted. The flakes, served with milk and marshmallows, proved popular with the sanatorium guests. Patenting their invention as “Granose,” the brothers founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, led by Will Kellogg.
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Will developed similar recipes using other types of grain, including corn. He started to manufacture Granose in 1906 and-to his brother John’s horror added sugar to the flakes to make them more palatable. John Kellogg viewed the cereals business as a sideline and sold his shares, which his brother acquired covertly until he had a majority stake.
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